Summer can be a blast for parents and kids, but it can also be really dangerous. Extra outdoor and water play can means extra hazards. So when you are out enjoying the season, keep these things in mind.
- Make sure all playgrounds have soft materials underneath, either rubber mats, mulch materials, or similar.
- Some playground surfaces can get very hot in the sun, so test for temperature before placing little ones on any slides or swings.
- If the kids were riding bikes or scooters, make sure they remove helmets before playing on any equipment. Accidental hanging could occur with falls.
- The National Program for Playground Safety reports that climbing equipment is the leading cause of playground injury, so encourage kids to pay attention, make sure they wear proper shoes, and keep an eye on them while they are climbing. Do not allow improper climbing on railings or poles.
BIKES AND SCOOTERS
- Always make sure the children wear helmets and ensure a proper helmet fit.
- Do not allow children to ride near roads or in parking lots.
- No child should ride alone - the American Academy of Pediatrics says no child under age 8 should be alone, but honestly? These days I believe that should be even older. Make sure even your pre-teens ride where you can still see them from a distance.
- Never allow children into water without close adult supervision.
- Understand what drowning really looks like; a child that is unmoving and quiet in the water could be drowning. Per the CDC, about one in five people who die from drowning are age 14 or younger and within that age group, drowning is second only to auto crashes for unintentional injury-related fatalities.
- Diving into shallow water is also an extreme hazard and a leading cause of spinal cord injury including paraplegia and quadriplegia. Do not allow children to dive anywhere where signs prohibit such action. "No Diving" is there for a reason.
- Also be vigilant and follow all slip-n-slide and waterslide rules. Never allow children (or adults) to enter water head-first. Hitting any surface at the wrong angle can also cause severe spinal cord injury.
- Obviously, children should never light fireworks and adults should always use caution.
- Spectators should keep a safe distance.
- Did you know that sparklers are one of the leading causes of fireworks injury simply because they are taken for granted? Sparklers burn at temperatures around (and over) 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure children understand the danger and use sparklers properly. Do not light more than one sparkler at a time, and do not lay spent sparklers down on dry grass or flammable materials - putting them in sand or water is best.
- Children can protect their hands from sparklers with a simple plastic cup - stick the sparkler through a hole in the cup
Have lots of family fun this season - but stay safe! A visit to the ER will ruin even the best vacation day.